For the busy mind, fishing is an oasis of solitude within nature. The quiet, open waters are where you go to gather your thoughts, then return to land with a sense of rejuvenation and clarity - with some freshly caught dinner.
This past-time can also be a form of bonding with your children, as you can teach them tips to reel in the catch. They will likely sit quietly by your side and embrace the quiet waters with you.
Just kidding. While catching fish with kids is a great pastime, if there are no fish nibbling they will likely lose interest quickly. Here's a few tips to keep the kids engaged!
Start with the proper attitude
Let your kids know that there will be challenges to catching fish. Come prepared with some interesting and educational talking points to keep them engaged. Extend a hopeful, positive attitude about the day. Make sure to also be attentive to their physical well-being - protect their heads from the sun with stylin' baseball hats and fishing sunglasses.
Use appropriate gear
We all have to begin somewhere. Instead of frustrating the young ones with complicated equipment, give them a cane pole to simplify the fishing process. This will give them something to look forward to (i.e. graduating to a more sophisticated pole).
Utilize open space
To avoid the hassles of untangling line from trees and bushes, take your children to designated fishing areas which have open casting lanes, such as docks or piers. Then they can go wild and cast in all directions.
Target suitable fish
Shift your focus from trout or largemouth bass, as they typically require more finesse to catch. Instead, opt for small farm ponds or huge impounds which will have a decent sized population of panfish or catfish. This will increase the odds of catching a few, keeping your children attentive and excited.
Use kid-friendly bait
For the faint-of-heart kids, using cockroaches or red wigglers can be alarming. Instead, bring hot dog slices or shrimp to catch the attention of catfish.
Keep morale high
To make a pleasant experience for the parent and child, bring snacks and drinks to keep everyone happy and energized. Protect your child’s eyes with polarized sunglasses as they will be out in the sun all day and their young eyes are more susceptible to damage.
If you start teaching your kids how to fish at a young age, they'll grow to appreciate it more over time. Be patient, as kids depend on more immediate results and rewards. These tactics will only boost your bonding time and will extend the length of your fishing trip.